Lancaster pulled off the upset of the Section VI basketball playoffs so far Tuesday night, knocking off No. 1 seed Niagara Falls, 65-57, in the Class AA bracket at Buffalo State.
Coach John Otto’s Legends will face the winner of Wednesday night’s semifinal between No. 2 Jamestown and No. 3 Orchard Park for the Class AA championship on Saturday at the Bengals’ Sports Arena.
The outcome ended Niagara Falls’ run of Class AA championships at four straight. One of those titles came with a 65-56 victory over Lancaster in the championship game of 2017. The Wolverines were ranked fourth among WNY large schools in the recent poll, only one of their previous four losses was to a Section VI public school, Amherst, in the season opener.
Sophomore Joe Harrington led Lancaster with 19 points. Senior Gianluca Fulciniti had 11, junior Jackson Jerebko 11.
The Legends led much of the game by a narrow margin, before Niagara Falls went off on a 10-0 run to take a 47-40 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Lancaster did not fold, though. A basket by Harrington, 3-pointers by Dominic Fulciniti and Jerebko and a free throw by Justin Hughes got them right back into it. A three by Jerebko put the Legends in front with 4:12 to play and Harrington scored to make it a 54-51 advantage.
The Wolverines tied it at 55 but a free throw by Harrington put the Legends in front, 56-55 with 2:43 left. Niagara Falls scored only one field goal the rest of the way.
Baskets by Gianluca Fulciniti and Jason Mansell and another basket by Gianluca made it 62-57. Mansell, the Legends’ football quarterback, sealed it with two free throws with 26.4 seconds left.
Curran’s 3 tops Fredonia
Casey Curran hit a 3-point shot with 15 seconds left to give Allegany-Limestone a 42-40 triumph over Fredonia in their Class B-2 semifinal at Buffalo State.
Fredonia had taken a one-point lead in the final 30 seconds only to see Curran his game winner. Kaleb Rybij, who led Fredonia with 13 points, got off a last second shot that missed as time expired.
Ben Giardini led A-L with 13 points. Curran had 11.
The Gators will face Newfane in Saturday’s B-2 final. Newfane reached the sectional final for the third time in four years with a 71-48 victory over Olmsted. Garrett Srock had 19 points for the Panthers, who will be seeking their first sectional championship since 1980. Marciano Lamar led the losing Owls with 23 points.
Tyler Hind scored 36 points including six 3-pointers adding to his WNY career record as Randolph defeated Salamanca, 59-47, in a Class C-2 semifinal at Jamestown Community College. Randolph (21-1) will face Holland for the C-2 title on Saturday . It’s the fourth straight season Randolph has made a sectional final. Six-foot-6 junior Jared White led Salamanca with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Holland edged Ellicottville, 54-51, with Tyler Scheffler scoring 16 points in their semifinal at Jamestown CC.
South-GI rematch set
Williamsville South defeated town rival, Amherst, 71-64, at Clarence to gain a place in the Class A-2 girls sectional final on Sunday at Buffalo State. The Billies will be trying for their seventh straight sectional crown in their rematch with Grand Island in the bracket final.
Meeting for the fourth time this season, Grand Island and Lew-Port produced a sluggish game which saw the Vikings pull out a 43-34 triumph behind a 22-point performance by Lydia Sweeney.
“It came down to doing some little things,” said Grand Island coach Kristin Wegrzyn. “I felt our team did a good job of hunkering down and playing our game after the first quarter.”
Freshman Sophie Auer had 18 points to lead Lew-Port.
For more on these games, read Jonah Bronstein’s story at BuffaloNews.com.
OP girls to face Clarence
No. 2 Orchard Park, the highest remaining seed in the Class AA girls bracket, will face No. 5 Clarence, a team the Quakers split with in the ECIC I regular season, for the sectional title on Sunday. The Quakers broke open a close game by outscoring Lockport, 18-6 in the fourth quarter in a 55-41 victory over the Lions in one of two games at Starpoint. Ali Miller led the Quakers with 18 points while Lily Flannery had 11 points and eight assists. Iyanna King has 10 for Lockport.
No upset this time for No. 8 Lancaster, which knocked out No. 1 seed Williamsville North last Saturday. The Legends, however, hung in against No. 5 seed Clarence before losing 49-38, at Starpoint. Lancaster had split with Clarence in the ECIC I season. Four Clarence players scored in double-figures led by Aliza Fromwiller’s 16 points. Lizzie Fitch had 10 rebounds. Casey Mahoney had 12 points for Lancaster.